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St. Maarten 2015 National Integrity System Assessment
Transparency International’s St. Maarten Study Highlights Lack Of Enforcement Of Laws In Practice.
In 2010 the Dutch part of the Caribbean island of St. Maarten (see Chapter IV, Country Profile) became an autonomous country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. This major transition meant drastic changes in the country’s institutions, which are still in progress. Being a small-scale (island) society with associated challenges, St. Maarten is now facing new opportunities in its democratic objectives.
In December 2013 the government of St. Maarten signed an agreement with Transparency International to undertake an assessment to explore the country’s weaknesses and strengths with regard to integrity and good governance.
The main purpose of a Transparency International assessment of a National Integrity System (NIS) is to assess the systemic defences against corruption of a country and formulate a set of recommendations to be used by all actors within society to promote integrity. The NIS process is consultative, meaning it uses a participatory approach and involves some of society’s relevant sectors and their key stakeholders. Data is collected from interviews with these key stakeholders and from legislation and official reports.
In March 2014 the Transparency International staff visited St. Maarten to introduce the project team and to meet with key stakeholders. A country visit including in-depth interviews was conducted during June and July of that same year. Preliminary recommendations were discussed with key stakeholders in December 2014. The final report was launched in July 2015.
Based on the findings of the St. Maarten National Integrity System assessment, Transparency International recommends the following:
- The government should initiate a process of dialogue with all sectors of civil society and the private sector to raise awareness of the impacts and costs of corruption on St. Maarten, and commit to a roadmap towards greater integrity.
- Increased resources should be dedicated to the implementation of existing transparency and accountability regulations in the public sector, to ensure their enforcement in practice.
- Political parties must disclose accurate and timely information on their income and expenditure, including the dates of donations, precise amounts and the names of the donors. Transparency of political party finance is crucial to ensure that oversight institutions and citizens can find out whether politicians are acting in the interests of the public or only of the select few.
This report is only a beginning. It is part of a longer-term process of change and awareness raising on what integrity means in St. Maarten. Recommendations serve as a tool to help bring about change in the accountability of St. Maarten’s leaders, as well as the awareness of the people and society at large.